Leadership and the Intuition–Feeling (NF) Process Pair
People with NF preferences (INFJs, INFPs, ENFPs, ENFJs) typically take a “let’s make a difference” approach to leadership. They consider how others can be positively affected over the long term instead of just in the present moment. In leading they tend to focus on big-picture, future-oriented ideas that can empower people to “be better.”
If NF informs your leadership style, you may want to consider how this approach is affecting members of your team. Some of them may appreciate your support of their big-picture ideas, [OK?] but others may find your approach too pie-in-the-sky and not directive enough. Remember, some people need detailed, step-by-step instructions to know what you really want from them.
If NF informs your leader’s leadership style, try to remember that this approach can be really helpful when you’re having trouble coming up with new ways to make a difference. Try not to get impatient when your NF leader is exploring possibilities that seem unrealistic to you.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these four-letter MBTI types and their leadership attributes:
INFJ Preference Leaders
Another one of the rarest of the leadership types, people who prefer INFJ make up only 2% of leaders around the world. Part of this could be that, at under 2% of the general population, they represent the smallest percentage of the population anyway. Again, just because we don’t find a lot of people who prefer INFJ in leadership positions does not mean they cannot make outstanding leaders. Their preferences may help them recognize long-term, big-picture possibilities as well as how their decisions affect others. During initial stress they may start to think everyone is against them and then withdraw emotionally.
INFP Preference Leaders
Not one of the more common leadership types, people who prefer INFP make up about 3% of leaders around the world. Their preferences may help them hold themselves and their organization to their values as well as consider many approaches to learning new things. During initial stress they may start to feel sorry for themselves as well as get a bit “preachy.” My own preferences are for INFP, and I like leadership opportunities where I can inspire others. I can get discouraged when people get overly critical and get bogged down in details.
ENFP Preference Leaders
People who prefer ENFP make up almost 7% of leaders. Interestingly, the workshop I delivered this month with 41 CEOs on the West Coast yielded the exact same percentage. Their preferences may help them motivate others to come along for the ride (“It will be fun”) and consider lots of possibilities along the way. During initial stress they may start to dwell on possible dire consequences as well as bounce from one idea to the next. As leaders, they tend to be enthusiastic in their approach to making a difference in people’s lives and tend to feel let down when others aren’t as enthusiastic.
ENFJ Preference Leaders
People who prefer ENFJ make up almost 4% of leaders. Their preferences may help them consider how their decisions affect others and contribute to harmony, as well as long-term possibilities. During initial stress they may become hypersensitive as well as overbearing in their care for others. Conflict within the team will likely be a major cause of stress for these leaders.